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Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant Awards Announced for Nearly 200 Organizations Statewide

Made possible by state’s $10 million investment of federal funds, awards designed to rebuild and transform creative sector

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 18, 2024) – The future of the arts sector in Oklahoma, hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, is set to be on more solid footing to help Oklahoma prosper in the years ahead as nearly 200 organizations that provide arts programming are being awarded a share of $10 million in state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) relief funds.

The grants are being administered by the state’s official arts agency—the Oklahoma Arts Council—in partnership with its regional arts partners for the Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant program, Allied Arts OKC and Arts Alliance Tulsa

Funding is being awarded to 182 organizations in communities of all sizes in every part of the state. The number of grants will be nearly evenly distributed between rural and urban areas—87 rural organizations and 95 urban organizations are being awarded grants. Rural-based organizations will receive 40 percent of the funding, aligning with the goal of maximizing impact throughout the state to ensure all Oklahomans benefit from arts and arts education programming.

Funding criteria for organizations was based on their arts operating budgets, financial and other losses caused by the pandemic, and the reach and sustainability of their programming. The funding will empower organizations to create new jobs and bring back positions lost during the pandemic. It will also stabilize organizations by underpinning operational expenses and encouraging renewal and expansion of programs. Artists, technical workers, and other creative entrepreneurs and small businesses will see a boost in opportunities from the investment.

“With this funding, Oklahoma’s leaders have shown extraordinary vision, prioritizing the creative sector’s role statewide as part of a comprehensive strategy for addressing Oklahoma’s long-term needs in workforce and economic development, talent retainment, education, quality of life, and more,” said Amber Sharples, Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director. “For rural Oklahoma, this investment is particularly meaningful to the arts’ proven ability to uniquely fuel population and income growth, economic resilience, private investment, and talent retention in rural communities.”

“State leadership has demonstrated their recognition of the critical importance of the arts nonprofit sector to Oklahoma’s continued economic momentum,” said Sunny Cearley, Allied Arts President & CEO. “The State’s historic ARPA investment in the cultural sector will benefit Oklahoma City and the central Oklahoma region by ensuring a sustainable, vibrant arts landscape that attracts new businesses and residents, promotes tourism and convention industries, and strengthens education and workforce development.”

“Arts Alliance Tulsa remains grateful to be part of this process and achievement, and we commend state leaders for recognizing the deep need for this investment in Tulsa and across the state,” said Todd Cunningham, Arts Alliance Tulsa Executive Director. “We look forward to seeing the multitude of ways in which this historic Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant funding will shape the arts in Tulsa in the years to come.”

From devastating losses to a historic investment

The state arts sector experienced devastating losses in earned and contributed income when programs were canceled during the pandemic. According to data reported to the Oklahoma Arts Council by its grantee organizations statewide, during the first 10 months of the pandemic—from March through December 2020—organizations experienced losses in earned and contributed income totaling nearly $44 million. One-third of organizations reported losing 75 percent or more of their income.

In response to the devastating losses, a proposed $10 million investment of state ARPA funds for the arts sector was originated in the Economic and Workforce Working Group of the Legislative Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding, co-chaired by state Senator Adam Pugh and state Representative Rhonda Baker. The group’s recommendation was unanimously approved by the full committee before its enactment by Governor Stitt in May 2023. The investment came from the $1.87 billion in federal ARPA pandemic relief funds allocated to the State of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant applications were reviewed through a rigorous process involving panels comprised of executive committee board members and staff of the Oklahoma Arts Council, Allied Arts OKC, and Arts Alliance Tulsa, with additional panel representation from the Office of Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell as then-cabinet secretary for the Oklahoma Arts Council. Awards received final approval by the 15 Governor-appointed members of the Oklahoma Arts Council. Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grant program criteria and award decisions were made in compliance with guidelines established by the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services’ Grants Management Office.

Private philanthropies providing additional funds

The historic investment made through public ARPA funds to restore and rebuild the arts sector has inspired additional support in private matching funds from the philanthropy community. Four foundations whose missions collectively serve the entire state have committed a total of nearly $50,000 in additional support for Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grants: Inasmuch Foundation for Oklahoma County; George Kaiser Family Foundation for Tulsa County; and the McCasland Foundation and Communities Foundation of Oklahoma for rural counties.

April 11 event at Capitol to mark historic moment

To mark the historic funding and turning point for the creative sector, a special convening of organizations awarded Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grants will take place Thursday, April 11, at the Oklahoma State Capitol following activities planned as part of Arts & Culture Day 2024. Arts & Culture Day is an independent program of the nonprofit statewide arts advocacy organization, Oklahomans for the Arts.

Funding was awarded to the following organizations:

Freedom West Community Development Corporation (Alva)
Arcadia Historical and Preservation Society (Arcadia)
Ardmore Little Theatre (Ardmore)
The Goddard Center (Ardmore)
Bartlesville Art Association (Bartlesville)
Bartlesville Chorale (Bartlesville)
Bartlesville Civic Ballet (Bartlesville)
Bartlesville Community Center Trust Authority (Bartlesville)
Bartlesville Community Concert Association (Bartlesville)
Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra (Bartlesville)
Children's Musical Theatre (Bartlesville)
Bristow Historical Society (Bristow)
ARTSOK (Broken Arrow)
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse (Broken Arrow)
Lincoln County On-Stage (Chandler)
Chickasha Area Arts Council (Chickasha)
Chickasha Community Theatre (Chickasha)
Claremore Museum of History (Claremore)
Indian Women's Pocahontas Club (Claremore)
Will Rogers Heritage Museum (Claremore)
Southwest Playhouse Fine Arts Center (Clinton)
Cushing Arts & Humanities Council (Cushing)
Chisholm Trail Arts Council (Duncan)
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center Association (Duncan)
Duncan Little Theatre (Duncan)
Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival (Durant)
Edmond History Museum (Edmond)
Fine Arts Institute of Edmond (Edmond)
India Association of Oklahoma (Edmond)
Prairie Dance Theatre (Edmond)
Red Carpet Community Theatre (Elk City)
Atelier 339 (Enid)
Gaslight Theatre (Enid)
Enid Symphony Association (Enid)
Leonardo's Children's Museum (Enid)
Eufaula Area Arts Council (Eufaula)
Frederick Arts & Humanities Council (Frederick)
American Heritage Music Festival (Grove)
Grove Community Playmakers (Grove)
Owens Arts Place Museum (Guthrie)
Pollard Theatre Company (Guthrie)
Oklahoma Writers Federation (Hydro)
Chisholm Trail Museum (Kingfisher)
Arts For All (Lawton)
Friends of the Lawton Public Library (Lawton)
Lawton Community Theatre (Lawton)
Lawton Philharmonic Society (Lawton)
McMahon Auditorium Authority (Lawton)
Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry (Locust Grove)
Willard Stone Museum (Locust Grove)
Vocal Sounds of Oklahoma (Luther)
McLoud Historical Society (McLoud)
Miami Downtown Redevelopment Authority (Miami)
Five Civilized Tribes Museum (Muskogee)
Muskogee Art Guild (Muskogee)
Muskogee Community Band Association (Muskogee)
Muskogee Little Theatre (Muskogee)
Oklahoma Music Educators Association (Muskogee)
Three Rivers Museum of Muskogee (Muskogee)
Central Oklahoma Dance Company (Norman)
Children's Arts Network (Norman)
Cimarron Opera Company (Norman)
Jazz In June (Norman)
NAMRON Players Theatre (Norman)
Norman Arts Council (Norman)
Norman Cultural Connection (Norman)
Norman Firehouse Art Center (Norman)
Norman Music Festival (Norman)
Norman Philharmonic (Norman)
Oklahoma Baroque Orchestra (Norman)
Oklahoma International Dance Festival (Norman)
Scissortail Productions (Norman)
Sooner Theatre of Norman (Norman)
The Depot (Norman)
The Oscar Jacobson Foundation (Norman)
3rd Act Theatre Company (Oklahoma City)
Ambassadors Concert Choir (Oklahoma City)
American Choral Directors Association (Oklahoma City)
Arts Council Oklahoma City (Oklahoma City)
ARTSPACE at Untitled (Oklahoma City)
Autism Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
Black Liberated Arts Center (Oklahoma City)
Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
Bring Back the Music (Oklahoma City)
Canterbury Voices (Oklahoma City)
Carpenter Square Theatre (Oklahoma City)
Chamber Music in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
deadCENTER Film (Oklahoma City)
El Sistema Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
First Americans Museum (Oklahoma City)
Freedom City (Oklahoma City)
Greatest Stories Never Told (Oklahoma City)
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
Metropolitan Better Living Center (Oklahoma City)
Metropolitan School of Dance (Oklahoma City)
Myriad Gardens Foundation (Oklahoma City)
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Arts Institute (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Children's Theatre (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City Ballet (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City Community College Foundation (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City Museum of Art (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City Philharmonic (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City Repertory Theater (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma County Diversion Hub (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Israel Exchange (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Mural Syndicate (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Museums Association (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma Youth Orchestras (Oklahoma City)
Oklahomans for the Arts (Oklahoma City)
Olde Capitol Hill Council (Oklahoma City)
Opry Heritage Foundation of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
Painted Sky Opera (Oklahoma City)
Paseo Arts Association (Oklahoma City)
Perpetual Motion Modern Dance (Oklahoma City)
RACE Dance Collective (Oklahoma City)
Red Earth (Oklahoma City)
Riversport Foundation (Oklahoma City)
Rodeo Cinema (Oklahoma City)
Tactus Chamber Orchestra & Vocal Ensemble (Oklahoma City)
The STEAM Engine (Oklahoma City)
Theatre Crude (Oklahoma City)
Thick Descriptions (Oklahoma City)
Western District of Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City)
Windsong Chamber Choir (Oklahoma City)
World Organization of China Painters (Oklahoma City)
Woody Guthrie Coalition (Oklahoma City)
Art Maker (Pawhuska)
The Constantine Theater (Pawhuska)
Ponca City Art Association (Ponca City)
Ponca Playhouse (Ponca City)
Sapulpa Arts & Humanities Foundation (Sapulpa)
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum Foundation (Seminole)
Seminole Arts Council (Seminole)
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art (Shawnee)
McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (Stillwater)
Stillwater Museum Association (Stillwater)
Town and Gown Theatre (Stillwater)
Northeastern State University Foundation (Tahlequah)
American Theatre Company (Tulsa)
108 Contemporary (Tulsa)
Chamber Music Tulsa (Tulsa)
Choregus Productions (Tulsa)
Circle Cinema Foundation (Tulsa)
Clark Youth Theatre (Tulsa)
Craft Production of Oklahoma (Tulsa)
Discovery Lab (Tulsa)
Fab Lab Tulsa (Tulsa)
Friends of Starlight Concerts (Tulsa)
Gilcrease Museum of American History and Art (Tulsa)
Horton Records (Tulsa)
Living Arts of Tulsa (Tulsa)
Oklahoma Performing Arts (Tulsa)
Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa)
Poetic Justice (Tulsa)
Portico Dance Theatre (Tulsa)
Red Dirt Relief Fund (Tulsa)
The bART Center for Music (Tulsa)
The Church Studio (Tulsa)
Theatre Tulsa (Tulsa)
Tulsa Air and Space Museum (Tulsa)
Tulsa Ballet (Tulsa)
Tulsa Botanic Garden (Tulsa)
Tulsa Chorale (Tulsa)
Tulsa Community College Foundation (Tulsa)
Tulsa Girls Art School (Tulsa)
Tulsa Glassblowing Studio (Tulsa)
Tulsa Historical Society & Museum (Tulsa)
Tulsa Opera (Tulsa)
Tulsa Performing Arts Center (Tulsa)
Tulsa Spotlighters (Tulsa)
Tulsa Symphony Orchestra (Tulsa)
Tulsa Youth Symphony (Tulsa)
Waterworks Art Studio Advisory Council (Tulsa)
Zephyrus Arts Institute (Tulsa)
Seminole Nation Museum (Wewoka)
On Stage Woodward (Woodward)
Plains Indians and Pioneers Historical Foundation (Woodward)
Woodward Arts & Theatre Council (Woodward)


Media Contact
Joel Gavin
Director of Marketing and Communications
Oklahoma Arts Council
(405) 312-1838

About the Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides more than 500 grants to more than 300 organizations and schools in communities statewide each year, organizes professional and workforce development opportunities for the state's arts and cultural industry, manages the art collections at the Oklahoma state Capitol, and oversees the State of Oklahoma’s percent for public art program. Additional information is available at

About Allied Arts OKC
As a United Arts Fund, Allied Arts works to broaden support for the arts by raising financial support for cultural organizations, encouraging participation and attendance, advocating for arts education, and promoting excellence in the arts and arts management. Since its founding in 1971, the organization has raised more than $91 million to advance the arts in central Oklahoma. Learn more at Allied Arts has more than 40 nonprofit cultural organizations under its umbrella.

About Arts Alliance Tulsa
As one of over 40 United Arts Funds operating in the United States, Arts Alliance Tulsa serves as a centralized fundraising clearinghouse to provide ongoing operating support sustaining 40 local nonprofit arts institutions. Funds raised by Arts Alliance Tulsa are presented annually as unrestricted grants to member organizations to use the arts to drive the local economy. Learn more at

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